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Bookmark and Share Paper 3230

Detecting the Effects of a Covert aP Layer in Polysynthetic Words in Inuit
Richard Compton
109-118 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper argues that a subset of the predicates classified as verbs in the Eskimo-Aleut literature are in fact adjectives (or acategorial roots merged with a little a categorizing head). While past research has claimed that these languages lack adjectives, evidence for the status of adjectives in Inuit is drawn from a number of syntactic phenomena across several dialects which converge on the same set of predicates. In particular, these adjectives exhibit distinct patterns of nominalization and mood marking that differentiate them from stative intransitive verbs. This analysis provides a unified explanation for a variety of disparate syntactic phenomena across geographically distant dialects. Further, it supports Dixon's (2004) and Baker's (2004) claims that adjectives are universal. Moreover, this paper illustrates the danger of accepting surface variation at face value.

Published in

Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Kyeong-min Kim, Pocholo Umbal, Trevor Block, Queenie Chan, Tanie Cheng, Kelli Finney, Mara Katz, Sophie Nickel-Thompson, and Lisa Shorten
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00